Health Risks of Poor Pet Exercise
How often do you take your pet out for exercise? Getting enough physical activity isn’t just fun, it’s crucial for your pet’s mental and physical health. Even if you have a predominantly indoor pet, getting them moving on a regular basis is an essential part of being a responsible owner. That’s because there are many health risks associated with poor pet exercise.
The biggest danger of your pet not getting enough exercise is that they could become overweight. Unfortunately, the number of animals recognized as being overweight or obese each year is growing steadily, and today, nearly 100 million pets in the United States are estimated to be carrying enough excess weight to affect their health and wellbeing.
Exercise is essential for burning off calories. Calories are units of energy. When we eat food, we consume calories. When we exercise, we burn calories. The same applies to our animals. When the number of calories they consume regularly exceeds that which they burn, they will gain weight. Regular exercise is essential to balance your pet’s calorie intake so that they maintain a healthy weight.
Health risks associated with obesity
Obesity is the biggest threat to your pet’s health that there is. This is because carrying excess weight increases your pet’s risk of a variety of serious health problems. These include:
Diabetes (known as diabetes mellitus in animals)
Joint complications, including arthritis and cruciate ligament tears
High blood pressure
Decreased liver function
Decreased immune function
Digestive disorders, including constipation and bloat
Some types of cancer, including cancer of the urinary bladder and mammary tumors
Obesity and surgery
Another key thing to remember is that being overweight increases your pet’s risks should they need to undergo a surgical procedure. What this means is that there is a greater chance that they will experience complications, during or after their procedure. There is also a degree of increased risk associated with the use of anesthetic should your pet require one.
Poor pet exercise could compromise your pet’s quality of life and lifespan
Being overweight can significantly compromise your pet’s quality of life. This is because they will find that they have less stamina, meaning that it will be harder and much more effort for them to run around, play, or even go for simple walks. They will be less comfortable when they are moving around and when they are sleeping. They will even be more prone to becoming unwell. All of these things can make life less enjoyable for them. Studies have also shown that being overweight can shorten your pet’s lifespan.
Every responsible and compassionate pet owner wants their animal to live a life that is as happy as possible. In order to achieve this, you need to worry about your pet’s mental wellbeing as well as their physical health. Experts agree that exercise is a great way to keep your pet’s brain active – something which will significantly improve their general wellbeing, stop them from becoming bored and prevent unwanted and undesirable behaviors that can develop from a lack of stimulation. This includes aggression, chewing, urinating, digging, and separation anxiety. Incorporate games into your walks or make regular times for energetic playing to combine both exercise and mental stimulation into your pet’s routine.
If you would like more information about the health risks of poor pet exercise, please contact our friendly veterinary team.